Pride and Prejudice
March 10, 2006
Starring: Keira Knightley, Talulah Riley, Rosamund Pike, Jena Malone, Carey Mulligan, Donald Sutherland, Brenda Blethyn, Claudie Blakley, Sylvester Morand, Simon Woods, Matthew Macfadyen, Judi Dench,
Originally titled First Impressions, Jane Austen’s 1813 novel, Pride and Prejudice is considered a classic piece of boy meets girl literature and has already been adapted in to two mini-series (1980 and 1995) and now a second film. The first was an appalling attempt by the Americans in 1940, and now in 2005 the British complete the movie that is set to become the definitive screen version.
Set in 1797, the Bennett family lives in a rural English home and their security and happiness relies on the five daughters being married. It’s not until wealthy gentile Mr. Bingly and Mr. Darcy arrive in town that the Bennett sisters’ hearts are sent all a flutter and Mrs. Bennett begins matchmaking for her eldest daughters. With Jane Bennett winning the heart of Mr. Bingly, it’s the fluctuating emotions between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett that become the driving force of this story of romance, class and family.
First time movie director Joe Wright has collected an almost perfect cast for this period drama. Keira Knightly was born to play the intelligent, quick witted yet sharp tongued Elizabeth Bennett and Brenda Blethyn is remarkably funny in her single-minded pursuit to see her daughters married. The whole cast are well backed by acting elite such as Judi Dench and Donald Sutherland, but unfortunately rising star Jena Malone, as a younger Bennett, is completely overshadowed and unable to shine, and BBC’s Spooks star Matthew Macfadyen seems too normal looking to play the dashing Darcy.
As a period piece a lot of the film’s splendor and elegance comes from the lavish and grand costumes, locations and set designs, and as stunning and important as these elements are, it would seem that the camera is more focused on the surrounding beauty than the actual action in front of the camera. This results in an entire film of wide shots, pans and steadi-cam usage, which although done with flawless grace can get very irritating.
The script might feel a bit stale with its one track plot, and unengaging sub-plots, but it will please the fanatics with its reasonable faithfulness, and magnificence. It’s unlikely to impress Keira Knightly’s key demographic but it’s a definitive positive in eradicating Domino from our minds.
Not a bad bunch of short features, especially if you have little knowledge of the Pride and Prejudice or Jane Austen.
Audience can get a better understanding of the times the film was set with shorts where you can visit the five Staley Homes that were used in the films with little 2 – 4 minutes pieces about them and The Politics of Dating, which explains what is the acceptable manner in which to behave in courtship.
Also an eight-minute piece about Jane Austen herself, which could prove educational, but strangely enough it is the director’s commentary that shines above all. Joe Wright’s tracks proves to be full, frank and honest in pointing out the trickery in movie making, mistakes and bad choices, his likes and dislikes and he does this with a chirp in his voice and could even be considered funny in places. You really get a feeling that Joe Wright learnt something in making this film.